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Hepatitis

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that can be caused by many things, including viruses, alcohol, and drugs. The most common viruses that attack the liver are hepatitis A, B and C.

Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with vaccinations, which you can get from your provider or from our Immunization Clinic. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis A

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A, which spreads from person to person by the fecal-oral route by means such as poor hand-washing practices, eating uncooked food prepared by an infected person, and sexual contact. Hepatitis A does not become chronic, meaning you will not remain sick over time. Once your body fights off the illness, a lifetime immunity develops. 

The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent an infection.  

Hepatitis B

Anyone who comes in contact with the blood, semen, or other bodily fluids of an infected person may contract hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can be transmitted from mother to child at birth. A person who develops chronic (life-long) hepatitis B infection is at risk for developing serious liver disease.  The hepatitis B vaccine is the best way to prevent an infection.

Hepatitis B prevention for pregnant women

Newborns who are exposed to Hepatitis B infection have a 9 in 10 chance of developing chronic, lifelong infections that lead to deadly liver diseases. In 2013, the Snohomish Health District’s Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program provided case management to 141 pregnant mothers who were at risk to transmit Hepatitis B to their infants. 

Our public health nurse works with doctors, hospitals, and their patients so that babies get two shots within 12 hours after birth (hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin). After the delivery, we continue to work with doctors to ensure follow-up care is provided.

Hepatitis C

Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) and people who inject drugs are at highest risk to contract hepatitis C. Most people infected with hepatitis C  do not know they have the disease until liver damage shows up in medical tests decades after first getting infected with the virus.

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.  A blood test can determine whether or not you are infected.  Knowing your hepatitis C status can help you to learn:

  • How to protect your liver from further harm
  • How to prevent spreading hepatitis to others
  • Whether treatment is needed or available

 

 

Contact us

Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response

Phone: 425.339.5278
Fax: 425.339.8706
CDquestions@snohd.org

Did you know?

1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has Hepatitis B, but most do not know it.